TWIC - And Then There Were Two

Lane Cove's presence in the finals was halved as 2nd and 3rd Grade both bowed out while 1s and 4s progressed.  Apparently the last time we had two teams in finals was 1983/84, or something, and we got pounded in both games*.  In 1s, just about everyone chipped in with the bat as we posted 281 in around 110 overs.  Brett Dickardson found form again with the rock, snaring 4 cheap captain's poles as Strathfield posted 200 in reply.  2s pushed the Minor Premiers all the way but ended up going down by a wicket on 1st innings before throwing the bat a bit and setting Strathfield 160 odd to win, which was achieved 5 down.  3s were bad - spent 100 odd overs in the field and only batted for about 30.  4s made it two nail-biters in a row as they edged over the line by one run and then batted out time to knock Mac Uni out.

* Not true I'm told.  Apparently we had 2 sides in the GF in 07/08 (2s and 4s).  Last time 1s were in it was 84/85, when 4s were also in it, and we got beaten then, and yada yada yada.  If I had another brain it'd be lonely.
  • 1st Grade v Burwood     @    Airey Park, Strathfield
  • 4th Grade v Epping        @    Tunks Park, Northbridge

10:00 am start on Saturday, 9:00 am on Sunday.  Good luck to both sides.

Training - this week we have the indoor nets booked at the Gartlan Centre (7:00 to 9:00 pm on Wednesday) and the SCG Indoor Centre (7:30 to 9:30 pm on Thursday).

1st Grade:   Lane Cove 281  def  Strathfield 200


2nd Grade:   Lane Cove 189 & 172  def by  Strathfield 204 & 5/160

2nd Grade Semi Final Report 

Day 1
Second Grade turned up to Airey Park to play raging premiership favourites Strathfield over the weekend.  There were some forced and unforced changes to the side, with young Will Daly and Doinksy coming in for Bez and Doherty.
The boys were keen to put last weekend’s diabolical performance behind us and warmed up with purpose and intent.  The wicket was predictably flat and skipper Blurtarro took the unconventional approach as a lower ranked captain and chose to bat first in terrific conditions.  With this author particularly hesitant to pump the skipper up, he then produced a masterstroke promoting Fish to open with him and the boys batted positively from the start.  The Coves got to 28 with no loss before Owen cut a ball in half to be fired, a decision which the umpire later apologized profusely for.  How handy is that?? Sammy and Southcott batted extremely well for their 40’s and I couldn’t help but be very impressed with young Will Daly, who remained composed, confident and sure of himself in the most trying of circumstances.  To steal a line from David Boon to Justin Langer, if you can handle this then you can handle anything and full credit to the young fella.
The standard middle order collapse occurred to have us in a little bit of trouble at 7/131 and needing to cobble a score of around 200 to have any chance.  Thankfully PTBDK – OOTG stood up and Dodds hung around with him, sweeping and noodling his way to 30 while backing up the Great Man at the other end.
Net result – all out 189.
So we had given ourselves every chance, having scored more than when we beat them in round 4.  Dodds and Scarcella started off and got one early after there opener scooped a nude Dodds delivery to Farmer at mid off.  Big Cox then removed their best bat Sylvester, with a sharp chance snaffled by Daly at cover.  Farmer then proceeded to rip through the middle order with a great spell of guile and control and at stumps day 1 the game was right in the balance with 30 to get and 2 wickets remaining.
Day 2
The bounce of the ball didn’t go our way, neither did luck and their experienced blokes batted sensibly to get them 9 down.  Stiff. Very stiff.  So after the standard unnecessary verbal stuff we were out throwing the bat and chasing quick runs to set them something and force the pace.  Fish was due, and came off with a terrific 60 off 41 rocks that kept the game going.  Put it this way, if he doesn’t get 60, I start drinking a lot earlier and have a far bigger headache than the medium range one I have now.
We set Strathfield 158 off 53 overs.  This was eventually passed 5 down, but we never gave up and showed a lot of courage and kept turning up for each other (note the cliché, something to do with reading 25 pages of rugby league news in this morning Telegraph).  We should be proud of the fact we pushed a very good side right to the brink.
Good year lads.  Thanks for all your efforts and especially to our captain for his work throughout the year.
Baby got Sack 

3rd Grade:   Lane Cove 43  def by  Burwood 218

3s were dismally towelled up by a decent Burwood outfit.  The highlight for the weekend was undoubtedly Slat's bowling (3/22 from 8.5) and the ecstatic "woo's" from the missus on the boundary, followed by Felpie being late on day 1, day 2, the first lunch break, the second drinks break, the sitter he dropped at 2nd ned and the straight one that uprooted his pegs.  Remarkable consistency from the Plucking Duck.  Megan Fox's toe thumbs also got a work over.

Thanks to the 4 or 5 guys from lower grades who put their hand up to help out and share the humiliation with what was left of a pretty ordinary 3rd Grade outfit.  I felt we gave a pretty fair account of ourselves - we're an infamously terrible cricketing side and we brought our A game and played to our potential.  We had a reasonable day in the field with the pill but the batting was a a train wreck from the word go on a flat deck.  Credit to Burwood who bowled full, at the pegs and wobbled it around - something we didn't do enough of the day before.

Anyway, no point dwelling on the low point in what was a season of many lows.  We weren't good enough to beat the good teams and only managed one win against the other sides in the top 6 - and that was more down to luck than design or competence.  After grifting for a draw last week against NWS, we deservedly tripped over the first significant hurdle we faced in finals.  Cosmic righteousness strikes and we're spared the ignominy of playing in April.

Players' Player
3 - Slats
2 - Kenjamin
1 - T Snack

4th Grade:   Lane Cove 95 & 6/142  def  Mac Uni 94 & 9/195(dec) 

Day 1
We turned up to Mac Uni’s home ground at the Northern Oval knowing that to beat these boys we would have to be at our best. It didn’t fill me with confidence when Scotty announced he had never beaten Mac Uni 4th Grade in 6 years of playing 4s. What did give me confidence was the great win the week before against the top team Strathfield and the belief this team had in themselves.
Pitch was a beauty with a little give in it so on winning the toss I ask them to bat. As it turned out it was a good wicket to bat on, quick outfield and sunny; all the ingredients to make a risky captaincy decision look bad. Our bowlers hit good areas from the first over with the many balls beating the bat. We welcomed Cam Bezer to the mighty 4’s who didn’t let us down with a wicket in the first few overs, followed by Jackson straight after. The Mac Uni boys dug in for the next 10 overs until Rafe was given the ball to remove their No 4 bat leaving one he shouldn’t have only to see his pegs disrupted. Crazy and Scotty formed a partnership like last week where they destroyed Strathfield to grab a wicket each and keep the runs at a comfortable 2 an over. As usual with Mac Uni a middle to late order partnership started to happen until Bez was thrown the ball from the other end. His 3 wickets in two overs cleaned up the tail to see the total end at 94. Bezer 4 poles, Scotty 2 and 1 to Crazy, Jackson and Rafe.
Chasing 94 we stressed to each other to play our natural games, get the job done tonight and don’t leave it to the tail like last week. Schaafs gone in the 2nd over 1 fa 4, when Rafe went a couple of overs later it was 2 fa 9 and looking like a Covie collapse was on the cards. Ben Arnall was dismissed next to make it 3 fa 16. Lloydy was looking good until he lost concentration to be dismissed for 17 the second top score 4 fa 22. The Skip and Wingy put on 23 to get a little respectability in the score before the Skip was on his way 5 fa 45. We bat deep with Wingy looking comfortable so this target was well within reach. When Frenchy, Crazy and Jackson departed and 8 fa 69 appeared on the scoreboard the nerves were well and truly evident. Bez swatted a nice boundary and Wingy a huge maximum to push us to 92 before Beez was caught for 7. The Mac Uni bowlers had bowled a good line giving nothing away all innings. Scotty went out to either continue his beaten run against these guys or get us home. A single to Wing exposed Scotty to Browny who had 5 wickets at this stage and about 4 balls of the over left, 2 runs to win. The ball was pushed slightly down leg and an edge from Scotty to fine leg beat the close fielder to run away for 2 of the best runs he’s ever scored. Next ball LBW all out for 95 with Wingy not out for what we hoped was a match winning 37 - well batted mate. A short celebration that was tempered by the knowledge that we still had 121 over minimum left in the game with a second innings win either way on the cards.
Mac Uni had 17 overs to bat and start to set us a total. They changed their batting order to get quick runs, this led to a couple of quick wickets to Bezer and Jacko before their bats knuckled down to see out the day. We managed a late wicket to have them 3 fa 41 with plenty of cricket left in the game on Sunday.
Day 2
Mac Uni started day 2 with a plan to set us a challenging total and leave us with the option of either going for the runs or batting the overs out (Michael Dean). How many runs or overs was going to be the balancing act for their brains trust. We had to take wickets and restrict them as much as possible. The wicket was a perfect batting wicket with overnight rain taking the shine off the ball very early in the morning. Bez and Jacko continued to bowl good lines but the runs flowed more easily than day 1 with little movement for the bowlers. In the end Mac Uni declared 9 fa 195 leaving us 60 overs to get the runs or survive, we knew they would get through more overs if needed. Bezer, Jackson and Scotty all 3 wickets.  One of their batsman David Gracie pulled a hamstring quite badly when fielding and came out to bat with a runner. He came up to me and stated that he was going to bat left handed because of his injury (he is a right hander). Crazy would have thought easy wicket as I did. What followed was Crazy being smoked for two well struck 4’s that would have made any left hander proud.
The runs were an option with such good batting conditions until we lost John and Ben in the first 4 balls to have us in trouble at 2 fa 0. When Schaafsma went at 13 it looked like the first innings all over again. Then one of the best partnerships under pressure you will ever see from Rafe and Wingy again to take us to 110 but more importantly soak up about 55 overs. We had a minor tremor by losing 3 fa 10 but Frenchy and Joe saw us over the last few overs to finish on 6 fa 142 of 75 overs and job done. Rafe 34 runs off 180 balls and Wingy 65 runs off 133 balls were outstanding and showed the fight needed by all to bring home the flag.
Epping this week at Tunks Park - if you can, readers, get down and support the might 4’s.

Players' Player
3 - Wingy
2 - Rafe
1 - Bezer